The sun has just disappeared below the horizon and all around me people have witnessed a sight they'll probably only see once in a lifetime. You might think those of us that work on Mauna Kea's summit would be bored of the sight by now, but that isn't the case. If you take a close look at the picture above, Gemini staff and observers are standing on the telescope mount watching the view from within the dome. For both regulars and first-time visitors, the view is not to be missed.
Outside the telescope dozens of tourists watch the spectacle. They are just a small subset of people watching the spectacular view; about a hundred yards behind me are approximately three times this number enjoying the moment. At around $200 per person for taking the tour to 14,000 feet, I hope they are satisfied!
The visitors will be heading back to sea level soon. They'll stop on the way down to view the night sky from one of the best astronomy sites on the planet and then return to their hotel rooms a little before midnight. As they leave the summit, my workday begins.